Virgin Mobile plans Middle East and Africa IPO

Virgin Mobile is planning a share flotation for its Middle East and Africa business, according to company founder Mikkel Vinter.

The company, based in Dubai, has mobile virtual network operations in Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Malaysia, and it is looking at launching an initial public offering of its shares either in a Middle East stock market or in London.

Vinter told Arabian Business in an interview: “We are studying the possibility of an IPO. The plans are still in the early stages, and we are in discussions with banks and monitoring local exchanges.”

The IPO is unlikely to take place this year and will depend on market conditions and ongoing evaluations of the business., said the publication.

Virgin Mobile MEA was founded in 2006 and was renamed in 2012 when Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Oman-based FRiENDi Group combined their shareholdings in Virgin Mobile South Africa and the FRiENDi Mobile businesses.

The company says it hopes to launch another five operations, to bring the total to 10, over the next five years.

Shareholders include Virgin Group, Gulf Investment Corporation, which is owned by the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and a number of private equity investors.

Last year’s revenue was $200 million, Vinter told Arabian Business in his interview, representing double-digit growth from 2014.

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